Emergency Airway Management Part 4: Cricothyroidotomy (surgical front of neck access)

An approach to managing the emergency department patient in a can’t intubate can’t oxygenate scenario

Case

A 55 year old man was found unconscious in the bathroom by his family. After appropriate resuscitation and pre-oxygenation, you determine that there are no major predictors of difficulty, and so proceed with RSI. On 2 attempts at laryngoscopy, both direct and video, you cannot visualize the cords. The LMA won’t sit properly, and now his oxygen saturation is 70% despite your best attempt at bag valve mask ventilation…

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Emergency Airway Management Part 3: Intubation – the procedure

An approach to intubation in the emergency department

Case

A 55 year old man was found unconscious in the bathroom by his family. He has a GCS of 7. His vital signs on arrival are a heart rate of 130, a blood pressure of 90/55, a respiratory rate of 28, and an oxygen saturation of 89% on room air. After using basic airway maneuvers to temporarily stabilize his airway, you were able to take the time to appropriately resuscitate and pre-oxygenate him. His vital signs are now a heart rate of 105, a blood pressure of 122/77, a respiratory rate of 16, and an oxygen saturation of 100% with a non-rebreather set at flush rate and nasal prongs at 15 L/min. However, he remains unconscious and you think it is now time to proceed with intubation…

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Emergency Airway Management Part 2: Is the patient ready for intubation?

An approach to managing important pre-intubation physiology

Case

A 55 year old man was found unconscious in the bathroom by his family. He has a GCS of 7. His vital signs on arrival are a heart rate of 130, a blood pressure of 90/55, a respiratory rate of 28, and an oxygen saturation of 89% on room air. Although he was originally making sonorous noises, after elevating the head of the bed to 30 degrees, inserting a nasopharyngeal airway, and applying a jaw thrust, he is breathing quietly at 23 breaths a minutes, and his oxygen saturation has climbed to 92% with facemask oxygen…

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Emergency Airway Management Part 1: Optimizing the basics

An approach to the initial airway management of emergency department patients

Case

A 55 year old man was found unconscious in the bathroom by his family. He has a GCS of 7. His vital signs are a heart rate of 130, a blood pressure of 90/55, a respiratory rate of 28, and an oxygen saturation of 89% on room air. He is lying flat on the resuscitation stretcher and making some sonorous breath sounds. You resident grabs a laryngoscope and says, “ABCs… let’s get this guy intubated”…

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Chloral Hydrate Toxicity

A guide to the first 10 minutes of resuscitation in chloral hydrate toxicity

Case

#1 A 4 year old girl was prescribed chloral hydrate to be taken at home prior to a procedure by her dentist. After a successful procedure, she was monitored for 1 hour, at which point she was described as tired but rousable and she was discharged home. Three hours later her mother finds her unresponsive and calls 911. Paramedics arrive to find a child in respiratory arrest and quickly package her up for the 5 minute drive to your small community hospital… (Nordt 2014)

#2 Later that evening, a 21 old man is transported from a local bar unresponsive after drinking a beer. The monitor reveals a wide complex tachycardia. There is a faint odor of pears on his breath, which triggers a vague recollection from medical trivia night. You have a nurse talk to his friends, and sure enough, they admit to slipping him a “Micky Finn” as a prank…

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Performance Under Pressure

Improving your performance in high pressure situations

How well do you perform when the pressure is high? This is one of my favorite emergency medicine topics. Emergency personnel pride themselves on thriving under pressure. Doctors like to think of themselves as perfect, maybe even god-like. Combine the two, and you can imagine the ego of the average emergency physician. But underneath all that bravado, we are all human. We all experience stress, and we all respond to stress in distinctly human ways.

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Torsades de Pointes

The first 10 minutes of emergency medicine resuscitation of torsades de pointes

Case

A 46 year old female is referred into the emergency department after multiple syncopal episodes. Her family physician did blood work and found her to be hypokalemic. She is on venlafaxine for depression and amitriptyline for sciatica. She is currently on a course of moxifloxacin for her sinusitis and this morning took a dose of fluconazole for the resultant candidiasis. On arrival, she is alert and looks well. However, as the ECG is being performed, she slumps over and you see:

ECG52105_3_hypoK.jpg

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